Francis' father was Pietro di Bernardone, a prosperous silk merchant. He lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man, even fighting as a soldier for Assisi. While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life. On a pilgrimage to Rome, he joined the poor in begging at St. Peter's Basilica. The experience moved him to live in poverty. Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon amassed a following. His Order was authorized by Pope Innocent III in 1210. He then founded the Order of Poor Clares. In 1223, Francis created the first Christmas manger/Nativity scene. On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX. He...
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